A beautiful July day heralded the unveiling ceremony of the Ulster History Circle blue plaque to Sgt. James Somers VC at Belturbet Church of Ireland, Co. Cavan.
Warmly welcomed by Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, a large audience, many travelling from Dundalk, Dublin and from James Somer’s home town and final resting place, Cloughjordan, Co., Tipperary, heard Chris say – ‘this is rather like a ‘home coming’ for the young soldier from the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion-Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His bravery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, earned James the Victoria Cross in 1918. Belturbet is the village in which he was born, as his father was the sexton of the Church, where we are standing today. James Somers was born in 1894 in the sexton’s house in Church Street. Eventually the family moved to other locations in Ireland, before finally settling in Co. Tipperary’.
Guests listened to addresses given by the minister of the Belturbet Church of Ireland, Rev. Tanya Woods, Councillor Paddy Smith from Cavan County Council, Ger Heffernan, Cloughjordan Heritage Group, Lt.Col. David Twigg, Chairman,
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Association, Foster Summerson, Gallipoli Association, and historian Dr. Brendan Scott.
As Sidney Cooper, nephew of James Somers VC stepped up to unveil the blue plaque, he said that he did so on behalf of all the families associated with James Somers, and that he did so with great pride. It was a very memorable and historic day in Belturbet, and he thanked the Ulster History Circle for commemorating his ancestor.
Guests adjourned to the Fairgreen National School on Railway Road, where during further tributes and refreshments, they were able to view an exhibition which had been kindly loaned for the occasion by Neil Armstrong, curator of the Inniskilling Museum in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
Photographs from the Plaque unveiling ceremony
Photographs – left to right
- James Somers.
- Leslie McKeague,Ulster History Circle, Olive McKeague, Anne and Ger Heffernan, Cloughjordan Heritage Group, Co. Tipperary.
- L.R. Rev. Tanya Woods, Councillor Paddy Smith, Chairman, Cavan Co. Council and Ger Finn, Acting County Manager, Cavan Co. Council.
- Sidney Cooper,( nephew) who unveiled the blue plaque (back with pink tie) with family members.
- Left – Neill Armstrong, curator, Inniskillings Museum with members of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Association.
- Sidney Cooper with all the extended related Somers families from over Ireland.